Top universities for tennis

student playing tennis at university
Fancy studying at a tennis-loving university? We’ve given you hawk-eye details on some of the best universities in the country for playing and competing in tennis.

If you’re interested in beginning, improving or playing competitive tennis we can help you explore some of your options. There are lots of good places to play tennis as a student, but we’ve analysed the UK’s nine performance tennis universities, which are unis that receive a grant from the Tennis Federation and have committed considerable resources to their tennis facilities. These resources include high quality indoor facilities, structured coaching, court access, physiotherapy and medical facilities, sports science, nutritional advice and access to coaches who provide 12–20 hours of training a week.

Universities’ competitive tennis programmes

As performance tennis universities, all of the universities in this list have excellent facilities and coaching available to players of all abilities, but they also compete throughout the year in competitions for top student tennis players. British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body in the UK for sport at university level. BUCS hosts two competitive tennis programmes throughout the year for both men and women players: the individual championships and the team championships. In the team championships universities compete in teams of players who play a mixture of singles and doubles matches against a different university in the same league each week. The individual championship is a tournament based on the points of individual players, which is a similar structure to grand slam tournaments.

Durham University

Durham University is ace at tennis: it has the highest ranking university tennis club in the country and has the number one ranked male and female player in the UK in the 2017 national university leadership rankings.

Durham University currently has eleven tennis teams: six men’s and five women’s teams. In the 2016–17 year, Durham won the males’ and females’ BUCS team championships. At the individual championships in 2016–17, many of Durham University’s players performed well; for instance one of its women’s singles players came second and the men’s doubles team won the tournament.

The university has both indoor and outdoor courts and offers coaching seven days a week. These courts are available to all students, including those looking to develop their game as well as players involved in the BUCS championship matches.

It also offers the opportunity to develop skills off court through a wider coaching programme where students can volunteer, coach and undertake LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) coaching qualifications.

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is famous for sport and has topped the BUCS championship for the overall BUCS sports match points for years. In the overall BUCS rankings for tennis Loughborough University finished in fifth place in 2016–17, having topped the leader board the previous year.

It has three men’s and three women’s teams who compete in the BUCS leagues. In the 2016–17 team championships Loughborough reached the semi-finals with its men’s first team and the quarter finals with its women’s first team.

Loughborough University also offers a recreational and development programme aimed at players who have an interest and background in tennis and wish to continue a good standard at university. For beginners, Loughborough University runs weekly group sessions.

Loughborough University also offers students the opportunity to get LTA coaching qualifications in tennis up to level 3 and the opportunity to volunteer either on campus coaching projects and/or by getting involved in local schools’ initiatives.

University of Stirling

The University of Stirling is home to the Scottish National Tennis Centre and was ranked second in the BUCS 2016–17 total points table for tennis. The University of Stirling was also the training base where stellar player Andy Murray developed his skills and recently awarded him a doctorate for his contribution to tennis.

The University of Stirling has six indoor courts and two outdoor clay courts, which collectively comprise the Scottish Tennis Centre. Courts are open to the public, the university tennis scholarship players and club players.

The University of Stirling has a consistently strong tennis team and for the 2016–17 year won both the men’s singles and women’s singles in the Scottish national championships. The University of Stirling was the runner up in both the men’s and women’s team championships in 2016–17.

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University has previously been the European university tennis champion and in the BUCS competition it has finished in the top seven tennis universities for the last nine years. It has seven men’s teams and four women’s teams.

In the 2016–17 BUCS team championships the Leeds Beckett men’s first team came third and the women’s first team came in fourth place. In the BUCS tennis 2016–17 men’s trophy Leeds Beckett finished in third place.

Leeds Beckett University also encourages players to become coaches and offers coaching bursaries delivering LTA coach education qualifications from levels 1–4.

University of Exeter

The Exeter Athletic Union tennis club has around 500 members, making it one of the country’s largest university tennis clubs and the biggest club in the Exeter Athletic Union. In 2017 BUCS league Exeter competed with four men’s and four women’s teams and is ranked third in the overall BUCS tennis ranking for 2016–17.

In the 2016–17 year Exeter reached the quarter finals in the men’s BUCS tennis championships and its women’s first team came third in the 2016–17 BUCS championship.

University of Bath

The University of Bath ranked seventh in the 2016–17 BUCS overall tennis points table, and is sixth in the BUCS table for all university sports. Bath University has both indoor and outdoor courts which can be hired and played on by members and non-members of the university tennis society. There are weekly sessions for beginner, improver, intermediate and advanced players as well as touch tennis, cardio tennis (an exercise class) and social night sessions offered each week.

The University of Bath’s men’s and women’s first teams reached the quarter finals in the 2016–17 BUCS team championships. In the national BUCS championship in 2016–17, Bath’s men’s team came sixth and the women’s team came third.

University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham has nine teams competing in the BUCS league, comprising five men’s teams and four women’s teams. For the 2016–17 season the University of Nottingham ranked in fourth place in the overall tennis BUCS leader board.

The university’s performance programme for players who want to play competitively has two men’s and two women’s university teams who compete in the BUCS championships. The women’s first team reached the last 16 in the 2016–17 BUCS team championships and the men’s first team reached the quarter finals.

It offers programmes for players who want to improve their skills in weekly sessions with three groups of similar abilities (beginner, intermediate and advanced). It also offers weekly tennis cardio sessions for members and non-members. Nottingham University uses the Nottingham Tennis Centre’s courts, where there are 19 outdoor courts and eleven indoor courts.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s women’s team is particularly strong and ranked in sixth position in the women’s BUCS national competition in 2016–17. Furthermore, in the 2016–17 BUCS women’s championships the Cardiff Metropolitan first team reached the last 16, while in the 2015–16 season the women’s first team reached the quarter finals.

The Cardiff Metropolitan men’s first team won its regional competition, with its second team coming fifth in the same competition.

University of East London

Tennis is the University of East London’s second highest scoring sport on the BUCS leader board behind athletics.

The men’s and women’s first teams won their regional competitions in the 2016–17 sporting year.

The University of East London (UEL) has regularly medalled at the annual BUCS championships. In 2012 UEL came first in women’s singles and men’s doubles. Its tennis programme, which coaches players for competitions, is ranked as number one in London and in the top 20 in the UK.

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